The world’s greatest environmental health risk is caused by particulate matter emitted from cooking on biomass fuel, killing four million people each year. Black carbon (BC), a major constituent of particulate matter and the second largest contributor to climate change, particularly affects public health in India. In order to shift communities away from cooking on biomass fuel, it is necessary to understand cooking behavior. However, the current standard for measuring this behavior, “stove use monitors” (SUMs), are expensive and difficult to use in large scale. This project, taking advantage of black carbon’s concentration and geographic position, uses a small network of sensors to measure the effectiveness of cookstove interventions by region. To do so, researchers are developing a balloon-borne monitoring system—the world’s first BC sensor that’s inexpensive, disposable, and lightweight, and can be deployed at massive scales. Funding was awarded for the further progression of this technology. Results forthcoming.
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